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The Intrepid ‘Public Enemy’s Role In The Emancipation Of Black People Through Music

In the 1930s, the name commonly used to describe individuals which activities are seen as a threat became the name of an of a controversial African-American hip-hop group in the late 80s, as ‘Public Enemy.’

How did this musical group that later become so famous revolutionized racist-America through their music? And what role did they play to bring African-Americans or black people in general, to this far before the continuation of the ‘Black Lives Matter’ force?

400 years ago, a ship carrying human cargo from Africa, landed at the shores of the United States of America. Decades after the abolition of slavery, physical and psychological abuse, denial of freedom, and equal opportunities, African-Americans have put the bitter memories of slavery behind them to move forward.

Thousands of African-Americans have excelled in a manner that has shocked institutionalized-racist America. Instead of being recommended, camouflaged- democratic racist- America is now killing the African-Americans, they brought from Africa to build their colonies with blood, sweat, and tears because they don’t want them to be successful.

“God’s ways are mysterious,” they say, out of the lion carcass the sweet honey was formed, surviving the brutal ordeal of slavery through spiritual music, African-Americans now dominate R and B and the hip-hop music scene, which started very early with ‘Public Enemy, Run D.M.C, before inspiring many music groups such as ‘A Tribe Called Quest, Nutty By Nature and other independent musicians such as LL Cool J, KRS-One, Queen Latifah, and many others.

When Public Enemy made their presence felt in the musical mainstream in the late 1980s, their intention is to seek recognition for the black man, not only African-Americans. They demonstrated that through the names of their music, It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back; Fear of a Black Planet; Rebel without a Pause; and, most famously, Fight the Power.

The political conscious and eloquent Carlton Douglas Ridenhour, popularly known as Chuck D, with William Jonathan Drayton, better known as Flavor Flav, (no longer with the group) expressed the oppression and persecution of black people or African-Americans, through music, despite the victories of Civil Right movement in the 60s.

The group through the video ‘Can’t Truss It,’ showed how the slave masters abused their power and cruelly dehumanized and raped African-American women, slaves. The music group ‘Public Enemy,’ itself, wasn’t violent but the message of the music was sharper than a double-edged sword. In reality, their music changed and improved the lives of African-Americans in a way they weren’t expecting.

Public Enemy’s ‘Fight The Power’, video music, is an example of the cry for justice which has eluded African-Americans, in a so-called democratic America.

Since the eruption of demonstrations after the brutal murder of George Floyd, Google, the owners of Youtube, has denied the access of showing the videos the Public Enemy on other platforms.

The African-Americans music group, ‘Public Enemy’
The African-Americans music group, ‘Public Enemy’

However, a movement under the slogan ‘Black Lives Matter,’ which exists but has been inactive for some time, suddenly jumped in to continue the similar work of Public Enemy, following the murder of the African-America, George Floyd by white racists police, spreading to Europe and other countries around the globe.

African-Americans still have a long way to go but if through civil rights movements, organizations, and music, they have reached so far, then the victory of collapsing the built-in institutional racism in America is very close than expected.

African-Americans or black people, in general, shall overcome.

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